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Fashion is an expression of that person's tastes/preferences. Ayn Rand used descriptions of clothing to show a lot of her character's personalities. Dagny's "greek-goddess-like dresses" ...Rearden's business suits...and Roark's workman clothes.

I would not judge a person entirely by their clothes, however, I do think you can tell a little about the person from their clothes. For example, in formal events...does a woman go for gaudy, sparkly dresses or simple geometric lines? I don't know very much about fashion...but I tend to go for practical, simple yet feminine clothing...i.e. ones that accentuate curves and such. I would relate fashion to art in whether it is aesthetically pleasing to look at or makes your eyes sore. Think "Mimi" from Drew Carey! :blink:

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I was just thinking about the purpose of fashion today and I have some rather primative thoughts to share on the matter.

I believe that clothing can go a long way toward projecting one's sense of life to others and also says a great deal about the values of the wearer (as well as an observer's if giving an evaluation). Although not art, it certainly has an aesthetic value.

Following the principle that "Form follows function" it is proper to examine the issue in this context.

There are many functional categories of clothing and fashion; here are a few (by no means an exhaustive survey):

Casual

Business

Formal

In terms of Casual clothing the attributes of primary concern would be comfort and utility. Providing the maximum amount of comfort while being durable enough to withstand the rigors of day-to-day life. If the clothing is worn during the course of certain labors then you would also want to combine ease of movement while insuring that the garments don't get in the way. Good choices in this respect project a personality that knows the value of approaching one's activities while considering all the details.

Proper business wear would reflect the amount of respect one has for one's employment as well as displaying a sense of confidence and vigor without being too gaudy or ostentatious. Showing that while you are concerned with your appearance and presentation, at the same time your mind is where it belongs when at work.

Formal clothing is a little different. Formal wear is for occasions where one is engaged in the celebration of one's values, and it should properly reflect the soul of someone who revels in the joy of existence. It is the category to which I have given the most thought because it is the one in which I am most interested.

Clothing in general and especially specific to Formal Wear should be gender specific. For women as well as men there are different essential attributes to be accentuated. Clothing should be made to draw specific attention to those details which highlight the essential physical attributes of “womanness” or “manness” but at the same time reserve a modesty and respect for one’s esteem and value.

This involves designing clothing which follows and accents natural lines and proportions as well as shape while at the same time not simply exposing broad sections of flesh with no respect for one’s self.

Examples of NOT following these basic principles can be seen all over the fashion world and are a testament to fashion’s importance.

Clothing which is overly baggy concealing the shape and figure of the wearer. This kind of clothing belies a certain aesthetic evasion and physiological insecurity, someone who for some reason or other is not comfortable with making decisions.

Clothing which clashes with natural features of the body. Seams or folds attempting to run counter to a natural line or shape, or grotesquely exaggerating one can either represent this. Designing clothing that draws attention and focus towards inessentials. This represents an attack on the beauty of women in particular as they have borne the brunt of this assault. Simply look at the clothing that most of the “fashion world” turns out to concretize this one. Observe the frail, meek, and shapeless creatures those who design clothing today idolize and worship. Models who are as physically devoid of distinction as they can possibly be whilst still living further subject themselves to aesthetic clashes with what lines and curves yet remain in an attempt to destroy all rational standards of physical beauty. Not all designers do this, but they are the exceptions.

Wearing clothing which although designed for your gender accentuates the attributes of the opposite. This is just plain dishonest.

I’d like to work on this more, but y’all tell me what you think.

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I remember listening to a lecture by Peikoff, the name I have now forgotten. I was surprised to find him make a comment, which he took for granted, about the absurdity of a business executive wearing jeans at a board meeting. I found it surprising because I would take the "absurdity" even further: at a board meeting I could imagine wearing a "Kappa" athletic track suit while discussing a potential hostile takeover of our competitor.

I asked my friend about this and he said it has to do with a stylized universe. I agree with this. But this has to be achieved.

Except for formal clothing I doubt that fashion can be considered as a true art. There can certainly be artistic elements but regular clothing cannot be art. The main reason is due to the wear and tear, clothing cannot last forever. Another reason can be understood by asking a question: How long can one contemplate a garment for? A fur coat or a nouveau couture gown can be closer to art but I still wouldn't consider it art?

The major forms of art that we have serve as fuel so that we can pursue our values and happiness. Just as sex is an effect and not a cause, clothing is an effect of a certain type of lifestyle. How much fuel can your clothing give you? Clothing for me is like icing on the cake, or the cherry on top. Clothing is merely the surface expression of your personality.

The clothing one wears should be tied to one's career.

My dream is to reach a point in my life where I can read and write and philosophize all day. My waredrobe will consist of very comfortable and well-designed athletic track suits, denim jeans, and ruff cotton trousers. I find it hard to imagine getting dressed in a suit every morning just to write my novel. I might even have a line of clothing that is an integration of sleep wear and neighborhood walk wear: Picture hospital pants but with better fabric and nicer colors. On some days I can see myself wearing white linen pants and a southamerican style formal dress shirt (guayabera). In hotter weather this dress shirt can be replaced with a simple v-neck white undershirt.

Now I will have hundreds of different pair of shoes--that's a given!

Now don't get me wrong, I love much of the clothing that has appeared in Gentleman's Quarterly magazine over the years. However, I don't see my lifestyle warranting much of that clothing.

If the main purpose of fashion was to impress other people then my described waredrobe would be different than the one done above. But since clothing is to complement a man's career a business suit would not seem appropriate.

Clothing is not an end in itself, unlike sex and sculpture.

Americo.

P.S. Now I'll save my description of "sex wear" for some other time.

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AMERICONORMAN,

Clothing is most certainly art. Anything that can be judged on an aesthetic level is art. Buildings are art. Cars are art. Just because something can be used or worn out does not make it non-art.

Going by what you've said already, I'd say you're pretty close to this conclusion, yourself.

Ursus,

Excellant thoughts on the matter. Clothes are all about context and functionality. I wonder if the baggy/whore division falls along the lines of any other known dicotomy...

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Can fashion be art, or is most clothing not art? How does it take the form of art?

To the degree that the design and selection of clothing is a selective process, then to that degree it shares an essential characteristic with art. That makes it artistic, but I wouldn't call it art because it is not produced or experienced as an end in itself.

This is not to put down clothing design and selection because there are many values to be found in well-designed and well-chosen clothing.

Functionality - Clothing provides protection, mobile storage (pockets), etc.

Personal Style - Clothing can be adapted to express personal preferences in color, comfort, or degree of formality. It can be chosen to enhance attractive physical features and conceal unattractive ones.

Fashion - The ever-changing fashion trends provide novelty and variety and keep us mentally active and challenged.

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Clothing is most certainly art. Anything that can be judged on an aesthetic level is art. Buildings are art. Cars are art. Just because something can be used or worn out does not make it non-art.

According to Objectivism, in general, utilitarian objects cannot be classified as art. They may have some esthetic value, but that in itself is not fundamental to the Objectivist notion of art. See the collection of essays by Ayn Rand in The Romantic Manifesto for a thorough discussion of this.

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Clothing is most certainly art. Anything that can be judged on an aesthetic level is art. Buildings are art. Cars are art. Just because something can be used or worn out does not make it non-art.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact nothing most assuredly destroys the concept of art than to equivocate it with every other human endeavor, except perhaps to equate it with everything, manmade or not. By the same reasoning applied to the various categories of art one could say that USA Today is literature or Football a ballet. Aesthetic and artistic choices and skills may be employed (and to great effect) in the fabrication of various utilitarian objects but Art serves a specific purpose aside from these considerations. To blend Art and Utility is a conceptual traffic accident. Serving no specific purpose it becomes neither art nor useful.

Rather than run the risk of being unnecessarily redundant I will simply refer you to the same source as was cited above.

On a separate note, can anyone suggest any books that might be helpful in assisting me in developing my technical artistic skills? I have a reasonably good one on drawing and sketching, but am not certain there aren’t better ones out there. I have nothing on painting or sculpture. Since I have little in the way of experience, I need to start on a pretty basic level, with learning the various techniques, materials, and mediums available.

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Perhaps you two could clarify: You seem to accept that Aesthetic skills are used in the construction of fashion items, cars, etc. But being "utilitarian" in nature, they are not Art proper.

I will clarify myself as perhaps I was improper with my terms. Artistry is used in those fields and I didn't want to let that artistry go uncredited. I remember the article you refer to in TRM (though that is one of the few books I don't own). So while it is not "art" by that (proper) definition, it is most certainly artistic. Well, unless it's total junk.

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On a separate note, can anyone suggest any books that might be helpful in assisting me in developing my technical artistic skills?  I have a reasonably good one on drawing and sketching, but am not certain there aren’t better ones out there.  I have nothing on painting or sculpture.  Since I have little in the way of experience, I need to start on a pretty basic level, with learning the various techniques, materials, and mediums available.

Painting and sculpture are best taught interactively with a good teacher. Stuart Mark Feldman, a mgnificent scultptor, has taught at several of the Objectivist conferences, as other Objectivist artists have also done. You can reach Stuart through his web site at http://www.netreach.net/~aisa/ Perhaps he could recommend some particular books for you.

You might also want to contact Quent Cordair, whose lovely gallery represents many Objectivist artists. He might have some specific recommendations, and/or he might be able to put you in touch with some of his artists for their recommendations. See http://www.cordair.com/

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I remember the article you refer to in TRM (though that is one of the few books I don't own). So while it is not "art" by that (proper) definition, it is most certainly artistic.

There is a world of difference between art, and something else being "artistic." It is not simply a matter of definition, but a distinction of meaning, significance, and value. Ayn Rand makes the distinction that the decorative arts has a different psycho-epistemological base, one which is not conceptual, as is art per se. You should read the book I referenced, The Romantic Manifesto, in detail.

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As I said before, I've already read the article you referenced and your reference was enough to jog my memory. I've clarified my point and it was not meant to contradict the conclusion reached by Rand in that article.

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WHERE??

I like it!

You can buy it from Fossil - either at their stores or online at www.fossil.com. It is manufactured by Fossil but designed by Philippe Starck. And best of all, it's only US$125. In Australia however it is around US$250, but I still considered that to be very good value. That particular watch is a male one, but Fossil also sell female versions such as:

PH2008.jpg

and

PH3003.jpg

and

PH2024.jpg

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Hello all:

First, Concerto, it was quite amusing what you did with the fashion accessory, the watch, to prove the theorem of The Romantic Manifesto.

(I must tell all of you, though--those who do not know--that The Romantic Manifesto is one of the most fruitful works of non-philosophic that has ever existed in the history of man. I'm serious! There are so many leads to be taken from this book. Every time I read it, I learn something new. But the most profitable aspect is the revolutionary discussion of Psycho-epistemology. The entire science, that I can only connect with Binswanger-Moroney, is lauched from this book. Think of it: we all use some method--we all use some OBJECTIVE logic--without even thinking of it--we cannot escape it--and yet epistemology is essential--but no one ever thought of it before; sorry, no one ever identified it before. And this is the key. Obviously Epistemology is the ultimate solution to everything; and because it is Metaphysics it is the solution to everything: imagine that!)

The real question is: did anyone notice what I did with sex in my only previous discussion on this subject. I first used it as an effect. And then I used it again to suggest my conclusion that sex and art are ends in themselves. "Thus fashion is not an art."

Cool. I know I'm right--and I thank The Speichers for continuing where I was not able to continue--but something bothered me with my use of sex. This is the riddle right now: my only reconciliation was that sex is closer to art than fashion. Sex would be similar to Dance. And thus in some future time, the sex would be an actual art. (I mean, if our dwellings can be considered art, then the universal dwellings of our soul and organs, should be considered art; I mean the activity apart from the fact).

So what logical fallacy am I committing in my previous statement? If any at all. I don't know. Where is my error. (I've discovered humans who our optimally conscious of their mental operations.) Since this is the essence of Objectivism, please guide me.

(Well, In the Fountainhead, at Monodnack Valley, Roark's essence, and the security for others, is declared in his method of thinking).

Anyways,

Americo.

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You can buy it from Fossil - either at their stores or online at www.fossil.com. It is manufactured by Fossil but designed by Philippe Starck.
I looked at the web site and those watches are really beautiful. Thanks for mentioning them.

One thing: how accurate are they? I am a real stickler about time; I know who I am and where I am with great accuracy, but I also like to know exactly when I am. B) I have the now discontinued Timex internet/messenger watch, which is also a pager and it gets updates from the atomic clock in Colorado. It has great precision and accuracy. I will get one of these "fossils" since they are so beautiful, but it would really be great if they were accurate too.

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No problem, Stephen.

As for the accuracy issue, it's a bit difficult to tell since I've only had it for about a week or so. However, I have owned Fossil watches in the past and have never had problems with them as far as accuracy is concerned.

Anyway, enjoy it when you get it - it's a beautifully designed watch. Masculine, without being overpowering, simple but has all the major functions and it feels great on the wrist.

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I bought this watch last week. I think it is one of the best pieces of design I've ever seen.

PH2002.jpg

I just bidded on one of these on ebay... then on a second glance I saw that the LCD display is green on the ebay one (The one you have shown has a black display). Do you know if you can get them in both colours or is one image inaccurate?

It looks considerably less attractive!

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Yes, I don't like the one with the green face as much. The one you're bidding on also has a rubber band whereas the black one has a steel one.

On the Fossil website, they no longer seem to have the black one for some reason. Perhaps they have discontinued it. But perhaps if you go to one of their stores, you may be able to find one.

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I had no idea there was an Objectivist theory of fashion. :lol:

"Wearing clothing which although designed for your gender accentuates the attributes of the opposite. This is just plain dishonest."

Dishonest how? It might not look good but it is hardly a genuine attempt to deceive someone. Does this mean shoulder pads for women are out?

"Clothing which is overly baggy concealing the shape and figure of the wearer. This kind of clothing belies a certain aesthetic evasion and physiological insecurity, someone who for some reason or other is not comfortable with making decisions."

Perhaps it just belies someone who is a little overweight and does not want to draw attention to it, thus accentuating their more attractive features.

According to Objectivism, in general, utilitarian objects cannot be classified as art. They may have some esthetic value, but that in itself is not fundamental to the Objectivist notion of art. See the collection of essays by Ayn Rand in The Romantic Manifesto for a thorough discussion of this.

Rand allowed architecture as an exception, so why not car design, etc? Cars have both practical and esthetic elements, just as buildings do. (Having said that, I would tend to lean the other way and not include architecture as an art.)

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I think we can all agree that most clothing design is not art, mostly chain stores rehashing/copying designers who have some originality. Though i admit to be easily seduced by glossy mags, i tire easily of the constant pastiches of the past. Sportwear and 'healthwear' may be the last avenues of progess, with technology, original thinking etc.

One book i found in my uni library was one called "Fashioning the Future" , came out 2005 i think, and its awesome if your're interested in what designers, scientists and real thinkers and creatives are imagining for the not-so far future.

SOME clothing designers are more art than just aesthetic- a prime example would be HUSSEIN CHALAYAN

check him out, but also READ about his stuff. Dominant themes are migration, technology

I am studying visual art at uni, and there are so many debates on what contemporary art is, and who is an artist......it is tireless

there are many purposes for creating, to decorate, beautify, to actively come to terms with/engage/support/criticise/debate the world around you...

so with clothing it could be creative problem solving in that way, you have a concept, a context which would be the body, identity, movemnet, function, care of material/practicality, and the form woulf be cloth or something else, and how to best get your concept across with those contextual issues and styling.

And in the aforementioned book, despite jokes about some teens wear!, did you know that someone has invented spray on fabric!! -basically lots of tiny cotton etc. fibres in an areosol,sorry forgot the name, but a google search would ceratinly bring it up

obviously the creations of such designers aren't available en masse, nor are they known by everyone or your average jo, and they're pricey too

...but so are the not so creative designers in high end fashion

ii feel like those guys just serve the consumer machine of constant newness that people follow thinking that buying will achieve genuine happiness and good for others/environment

glossy mag ads are admittedly (some) pretty but most certainly vaccuous

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ursus wrote in post #3: (emphasi added)

Clothing in general and especially specific to Formal Wear SHOULD be gender specific. For women as well as men there are different essential attributes to be accentuated. Clothing SHOULD be made to draw specific attention to those details which highlight the essential physical attributes of “womanness” or “manness” but at the same time reserve a modesty and respect for one’s esteem and value.

This involves designing clothing which follows and accents natural lines and proportions as well as shape while at the same time not simply exposing broad sections of flesh with no respect for one’s self.

SHOULD IT?

I am mostly referring to the two of the first three sentences conatining should.

Just throwing this out there for debate, because it's not always the most fruitful of thinking to assume, and continue previous thought without examining it.

obviously we all have personal preferences in taste

i would agree with the points in question if they meant respecting the wearer-their body shape (according to gender) and size-COMFORT!

this might get ideological, gender equality, or for some, a utopian thought of adrogyny in dressing

cross dressing, even in subtlety used to quite a novelty - pink shirts for guys

some linked to social issues -feminism, and reality- eg. some women needed to carry on the farmwork during the war

But ursus uses the word accentuate and says the design of clothes should highlight the essential physical attributes

this seems to refer to the styling of clothing

and what are the 'essential' physical attributes? -reproductive organs?! (appealing to oppsosite sex while maintaing modesty)

-erogenous zones, whether expicit like above or implicit, if i can say that, hips in women, shoulders in men....

please debate!

i think what makes the ideas surrounding this thread, is beacuse clothing has always been linked the social issues, both the individual and wider society/and subcultures, and also political and economic

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